Gareth Whiting

Assistant Professor

Employed since: November 2012
Phone:  +31 (0)6 22 73 61 07
E-mail:  g.t.whiting (at) uu.nl
Room: 4.86

Investigating the Zeolite Crystal-Binder Interface in Catalyst Bodies

The interaction at the zeolite crystal-binder interface is an important aspect of shaped catalyst bodies, influencing catalytic properties such as activity, selectivity and stability. An example of such a shaped catalyst body is a Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) particle, consisting of several components such as zeolite, binder and fillers.
FCC particles are used in the petrochemical industry worldwide to convert crude oil to valuable products, such as gasoline. The bulk binder is known to facilitate mass transfer and increase active site accessibility in catalytic reactions (among others). However, due to the previous lack of high spatiotemporal resolution techniques needed to study the interface, limited research is available on the exact chemical and physical processes which take place at there.
Research Gareth Whiting
Figure 1: Schematic showing possible outcomes of the zeolite-binder interaction in an FCC particle.
 
Zeolite-binder extrudates being formed using an in-house mini-screw extrusion setup.
Figure 2: Zeolite-binder extrudates being formed using an in-house mini-screw extrusion setup.
 

Our goal is to develop structure-activity relationships at the zeolite crystal-binder interface in ‘model‘ and ‘real’ catalyst systems. Novel synthesis methods will be employed in order to develop the zeolite-binder interface as well as studying known catalyst bodies (i.e. FCC particles, extrudates and granules). Our dedicated mini-screw extruder setup (figure 2 above), coupled with our Mixer Torque Rheometer, allow us to form shaped catalyst bodies with the right consistency in a variety of formulations, depending on the need of the user.
The combination of recently developed (in-situ) optical-, electron- and X-ray-based advanced characterization techniques with proof-of-concept catalytic reactions (i.e. biomass valorization), will be used to investigate the zeolite-binder interface in remarkable detail, with the overall aim of enhancing zeolite-based catalyst body design.